RealTime IT News

High-Tech Surveillance Under Foot

New York City has awarded a $212 million contract to defense firm Lockheed Martin for an underground high-tech security strategy expected to counter the threat of terrorist attacks.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) -- which oversees the New York City Transit system, Long Island Railroad, Metro North Railroad and MTA bridges and tunnels -- awarded the three-year contract to the company to install more than 1,000 cameras and 3,000 sensors at platforms, stations, terminals, bridges and in tunnels throughout the city.

The security sensor technology integrated with the electronic system will include motion sensors, perimeter sensors, intelligent video, conventional closed circuit television as well as other threat detection technologies, according to the MTA.

The contract includes maintenance options that could extend the program through September 2013.

Neither subway trains nor buses will be equipped with cameras, according to a spokeswoman from the MTA.

The announcement comes less than two months after suicide bombers killed 52 people in attacks on London's transportation infrastructure.

Although primarily known for manufacturing military hardware like fighter planes antitank systems, Lockheed Martin also develops infrastructure protection systems, including integrated electronic surveillance and threat detection.

The company will also subcontract some of the work to six companies: ARINC, Slattery Skanska USA, SYSTRA Engineering, Intergraph Corporation, Cubic Corporation and Lenel Systems International.

Surveillance experts began installing the cameras and sensors immediately after Tuesday afternoon's announcement, according to the MTA spokeswoman. She said it was unclear how long the installation would take but would continue until the software and computer systems are complete.

The upgrade to the city's underground security network will also extend into the mobile communications sphere. Much of the city's subway is a virtual dead zone for cell phones and other mobile devices, but a bid is now out to liven-up many of the stations, the MTA said.

However, it is not clear when connectivity might be available.